In review: Egyptian Tourism post Arab Spring

In review: Egyptian Tourism post Arab Spring

Steve’s breakdown: They couldn’t have started this review soon enough. A brief has been sent but if you’re a major network and not invited, it’s time to make a few calls.

CAIRO, Egypt: The Egyptian Tourist Authority is looking for global integrated marketing support as it aims to rebuild its severely crippled tourism industry almost two years after an Arab Spring-inspired revolution.

It’s understood that a number of PR and ad firms from all of the large holding companies, including WPP, Publicis Groupe and Interpublic Group of Cos, have received the brief from the organization’s headquarters in Cairo. The objective will be to promote tourism in Egypt among various international regions, according to industry executives familiar with the matter.

The account fees will likely be sizable, according to people familiar with the review, but promoting tourism in a revolution-worn region with a new administration will be no piece of cake. The revolt, which took place in January 2011, saw the ouster of then-President Hosni Mubarak. The region later held a democratic presidential election, won by Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi. U.S.-headquartered firms will have to decide whether or not the uncertainty of the new government might create an ethical conflict in the future.

“Tourism accounted for more than a tenth of Egypt’s gross domestic product before the 18-day revolt that was driven by widespread anger at poverty and high-levels of corruption,” reported Reuters just last month.

In 2010, the country touted almost 15 million tourists. But the January 2011 protests and violence put a dent in that robust headcount, causing a decline of more than 30% for the year, according to a number of reports. On the heels of the upheaval last February, The New York Times reported that Egypt’s tourism industry was losing $1 billion a month.

This year, however, Egypt projects a 20% boost in tourists. An aggressive marketing campaign should support the government’s tourism goal, which, according to various reports, is to attract 30 million tourists by 2020 and generate $25 billion in industry revenue.

The Egyptian Tourist Authority couldn’t be reached by press time.

The Reuters story noted that at an industry event, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou cited strong recent occupancy rates at hotels and almost 9 million tourist visits in the first nine months of this year. He expects that the numbers should “return to 2010 levels by the end of 2013 depending on the security situation.”


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